I have joined a new company three months ago and this will be my 1st project. The knowledge transfer done by resource whom I will be replacing is not good. He\She is not able to explain the complete business requirement or process and neither able to explain customization. The customer is demanding and current phase of project requires complete support business application and take up new enhancements.

How to deal with such a situation?

  • Is your "predecessor" still available in person? – marstato Aug 30 '17 at 8:18
  • Predecessor work in different location. However still very much part of the organization. – user76276 Aug 30 '17 at 8:26
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    What did your manager say? – Lilienthal Aug 30 '17 at 9:06
  • It's nothing uncommon. Aniway if your predecessor is a developper, it might be perfectly normal that He/She does not know the complete business requirment, the one that should know that is either the project manager or some kind of expert in your business field. – Walfrat Aug 30 '17 at 13:20
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    Software archaeology. Seriously. Some software projects might as well have been created by the ancient egyptians. You can still make progress even if you have to "write-off" traditional knowledge transfer. There's a great old podcast on this topic, its an interview with Dave Thomas: se-radio.net/2009/11/… – teego1967 Aug 30 '17 at 23:44

How to deal with such a situation?

All communication requires at least two people. You are one of those two or more.

If you aren't able to ask clarifying questions of the person who held your position previously, you simply need to find others with the relevant knowledge and/or documentation.

Read all documentation, requirements, specs, emails, etc. Look at all existing code. Ask questions of the people who can provide the answers. That might include Developers, Business Analysts, Project Managers, your Boss, and even the client.

Don't wait to be fed knowledge - go out and grab it yourself.

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You do the same thing you do when you walk into a workplace where your predecessor is unavailable.

First you look for any requirements documents and read them if available. If the predecessor never got any training on the requirements, it may be possible these don't exist.

Then you prioritize learning based on the areas most commonly changed (your source control can help you here) and most important to the business (your users can help you here and your manager) and the current items in the queue for support. Everything else can be learned as it comes up. Once you have a list, discuss the priority of learning with your boss.

Take those things, read the code for the sections in priority order and try to understand what it does right now. Document that. Discuss what you found with users, account managers, business analysts, your boss, whoever the stakeholders are. In an undocumented system, you are likely to find that what the code does and what the users think it does are two very different things. Do not change the code based on these documents without an official request in your ticketing system. If things are very far off, set up a meeting to discuss that and what should be done about it, but it is up to the business to decide if they want to make a change at this time.

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How to deal with such a situation?

You do the best you can with what you have, documenting everything you can along the way, and fill in the gaps with your manager, existing documentation, and your team mates.

Learning to deal with this situation is a good thing for you, as you will encounter this situation many times along the life of your career. ( if you haven't already )

Also, consider yourself lucky in that the person your replacing is still with the company. ( and not gone / un-reachable )

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Try to ask different people. If that does not help, talk to your "predecessor" again. If all fails, talk to the people who define the processes and requirements (likely the customer).

The fact that you dont understand what he/she is trying to explain to you might also be due to you not being able to understand. See how do i explain something to someone

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  • well infact I m quite sure the predecessor is not aware of the requirements. Lot of questions put on mail(one to one) go un-aswered. Because in one case, the response to a query raised during KT i got was that, for past 10 months (from the time predecessor has been on project) there has never been a issue in that process and no support query was raised. – user76276 Aug 30 '17 at 8:51
  • Emails that stay unanswered is another topic; there are plenty of good answers for that issue on this site. Fact is: you need knowledge X. Your predecessor does not have it or cannot get it across to you. You need to consult other sources to acquire that knowledge X. That means reading code at worst. – marstato Aug 30 '17 at 9:01

Unfortunately, what you describe is not at all uncommon. If a "Knowledge Transfer" covers 30% of the job, that's pretty awesome.

The most important thing to do is identify other people in the area/department who are also versed in whatever you're doing.

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